Data encryption and VPN security
iPhone OS 4.0 adds two encryption capabilities that will help calm some IT fears about iPhone adoption: It will encrypt email and any attachments with your PIN, and Apple is offering an API that lets apps encrypt all the data they store. SSL VPN support for both Cisco and Juniper networks is also being added.
Although more and more CIOs I speak with are finding ways to adopt the iPhone in its current state, this set of changes will go a long way to accelerating that adoption.
iTunes-less app distribution
Another big win for IT: iPhone OS 4.0 will let you provision your own apps to iPhone users without going through iTunes. Instead, you can do it wirelessly -- no need for USB tethering -- from your own Web server (via a URL you make available to employees), as an email attachment, or through another app.
This will be a big deal for the many companies that don't let employees install nonessential apps like iTunes. It'll be an even bigger deal for companies that lock down external ports and, thus, whose employees could not sync apps via a USB connection.
The iPhone started out as a very simple device, but as more capabilities are added, its plain interface becomes a limiting factor. For example, in today's iPhone, you may have to scroll through lots and lots of home screens to find the app you want. iPhone OS 4.0 will introduce the Folders capability, which lets you create folders of apps, so you can organize them by type -- just as you would on a PC or Mac.
The approach is simple: Drag an app onto another one and iPhone OS 4.0 creates a folder. iPhone OS 4.0 names the folder based on the type of apps you put together, such as Games or Business. The category names come from the App Store, which is too bad, since those categories are overly broad and fairly meaningless. Fortunately, you can rename the folders. If you drag an app of a different category onto another app, the folder gets the name of the app you are dragging -- until you rename it, of course.
Sorry, no Flash or Java
As Jobs told InfoWorld's Paul Krill, iPhone OS 4.0 won't support Adobe Flash or Oracle/Sun Java. For the graphics and interactivity in iPhone OS 4.0's new in-apps advertising capability, it's all HTML5 -- yet another sign that Apple will never accept Flash on its mobile devices. Is that good or bad? Bad for Adobe, but given Google's interest in promoting HTML5 as well, this may be an inevitable direction for Web developers to head toward.